Wednesday, 29 March 2023

The 83rd Regiment of Foot

Just a brief shot of my next completed unit for the peninsular war.

These are Warlord figures again but this time with the full 6 man metal command to give some variety, back on 40x40 bases but I think the next regiment will move to the six men per base seen in the last Portuguese regiment. I have spent quite a lot of time this week making the next two light infantry regiments using Victrix flank company figures, they have been more of a faff than I had expected but are now on the way. The completed 83rd means I now have enough for a good British brigade so I am thinking we may get them into battle soonish. Although not this week as two other battles are planned.

Perhaps not so dramatic but one of the local nature reserves Cliburn Moss close to where we live, home to a wide abundance of bird life, you can just see the Pennines in the distance.

Thanks for checking in, hopefully setting up a RCW battle for tomorrow


Friday, 24 March 2023

Battle of Graus 1063 ?

After a series of WW2 battles I thought we would change things up a bit this week with a Reconquista battle. The battle of Graus took place between the states of Aragon and Zaragoza/Castile around 1063 apparently some source place the battle around 1069. Very little (almost nothing) seems to be known about the battle which means you can make it up.

What is known is the King of Aragon Ramiro I had invaded Zaragoza and was facing a force under the command of the Emir Al-Muktadir with supporting troops from Castile under Prince Sancho ‘the strong’. Given the very limited historical information perhaps the only reason the battle is known is because it is thought the Emir had employed the mercenary El Cid.

In our version of the battle which takes place outside the town of Graus itself, Al-Muktadir and his Castilian supporters have drawn up whilst the Aragon forces under the King are on the attack. The king has employed some Muslim mercenaries who have the potential to swop sides. The townsfolk of Graus have come out to defend their fields. El Cid with a small contingent of cavalry reinforcements has a randomised arrival time and location. Will he arrive in time to save the day ?
The Zaragozian forces mainly lighter spearmen and archers in two ranks
The Christian Knights on their right wing
The King in the centre with the bulk of his heavy infantry
A shot from the town, the levy townsfolk can be seen in their field protecting their goats
Mercenary Muslim forces on the Aragon left, if they waiver they run the risk of deserting to the other side  !
The bulk of the Aragonese force
Would you believe it, in almost the first action of the game the mercenary mounted crossbowmen move forward, fail their morale check when they take a single wound and desert to the enemy 😂😂😂 we laughed a lot here the only disappointing thing was the rest of the mercenaries then charged the deserting scum in the rear and wiped them out !
A general advance by the heavy Christian cavalry
Al-Muktadir sends in his heavy camel troops to block the Christian cavalry 
The Castilians face off the mercenaries
A swirling melee in the centre begins
Zaragosan Jinetes against heavy Christian knights 🙁
Sancho the strong is keeping the mercenaries at bay
A lucky roll on the reinforcements arrival and the Cid arrives, but a poor roll on the location brings him on close to Graus itself when he is needed on the left 
Advancing Castilians feeling more confident now that they know they have El Cid at their rear
The centre is now a mass of spear troops in melee 
The archers are having a limited effect
….and then the Christian cavalry breaks through !
Some fighting breaks out amongst the rocks
The locals determined to protect their goats throw stone, sticks and poo at the mercenaries keeping them away !
The Zaragosan left flank is turned as well
The centre is strongly contested by both sides
Christian cavalry break through in the centre….
It is touch and go, in the distance El Cid can be seen galloping between the rocky outcrops 
The king charges in to try and slay Al-Muktadir in single combat
Sancho the strong is driving the mercenaries back but his assault is faltering
…….and just as the battle is lost the Cid arrives to save the day.
At this point we finished the battle, on the Zaragosan left flank the spearmen had held the flank and sent the Christian heavy cavalry fleeing. On the right flank things were fairly equal and although the mercenaries have been pushed right back they have more reserves so we called it at best a draw. In the centre is was really too close to call so we had to play one more deciding combat round here. The various commanders failed to kill each other, the key combat was between the spearmen, the Aragonese failed to break the Muslims and with the Muslims getting the next turn El Cid would be charging into their rear. This would have left a single Aragonese spearmen unit in the centre but this was already heavily wounded so we called the battle for the Emir Al-Muktadir, Zaragoza and Castile taking the day. Hoorah !

As you can tell a close battle which nicely broke up into three quite distinct battles, very entertaining. By surprise we had produced a historical outcome, and that single wound on the King would be costly as historically he died a few months later potentially from a wound at the battle.

These Dark age/Al Andalus battles are so colourful and fun to play. It has of course got me thinking about what troops I have in the lead pile. I’m feeling I need more cavalry, Heavy knights and some more Jinetes types so we might see those getting into the queue amongst the current Napoleonics.

Thanks as always for checking in, no outdoor photos I have been out cycling but it always seems to be raining at the moment 


Monday, 20 March 2023

Sicily 1943, Sumerians and British artillery

Well I seem to be keeping busy during retirement. First up the Americans saw some more battle time, this time using bolt action so that the wider support could get on the table.

A simple capture scenario, the Germans hold the three fuel dumps which the Americans are looking to capture, the Americans unusually failed to activate the barrage
The Americans all arrive first turn and spread out using the cover of the fields, the M8 moves upto the farmhouse
will they  need that 57mm ?
American armour heads down the road but the ravine will restrict mobility if they get stuck
Initially the Germans have deploy small squads of Fallschirmjager by the objectives 
Supported by infantry the M8 lays down fire over the farm wall
The Germans drop smoke into the ravine and the Sherman chooses to double back
The Germans have both a PzIII and Pz IV
The PzIV has an aggressive attack is the best form of defence approach and pushes through the smoke but is then hit and destroyed by the American Bazooka team 😢
Crossing the wall one squad of Americans assaults into the farmhouse knocking the Germans back but they take heavy loses doing so
Tight fighting around the centre
German MG in the orchard knocks out the American MG but then comes under heavy fire itself
Holding the centre the PzIII is immobilised and the. Blown up again by the Bazooka team. Both German tanks lost to the bazooka team !
But he German infantry is clinging on to the objectives
….and the Americans have left it one turn too late to charge forward. The Germans do cling on for a minor victory
But their burning armour will need to be left on the battlefield as they withdraw they have taken a lot of casualties.

A fun game and nice to get that Bolt action mix of combined arms. The bazooka team was outstanding perhaps I should make another one !

Second up Jon invited me to give his a Sumerians a run out. 
This is a really interesting tactical challenge with two identical armies on a flat desert with no terrain. Playing ‘blue’ I thought we would attempt a right flank attack and perhaps look to hold the centre and left ? After the initially couple of moves things are developing nicely. 
After a couple of failed pursuits my battle Chariots/cars sweep in form the right, suddenly my dice rolling luck changes and they literally crash through the enemy lines, driving both the enemy flank and centre sending them running back. This piece of worthless desert will remain under blue control for now ! Very enjoyable Jon needs to paint some more figures up now 
Finally my enthusiasm for Peninsular continues this week I am progressing a third British unit but on a whim jumped these Royal artillery 9pdrs into the queue, one was in the starter army the second from eBay. Of course when I have built more complete brigades I will come back and add some limbers for the artillery but I am focussing on core troops at the moment.

Thanks as always 👍 Matt